Author: Suzanne Lazear
Publication Date: August 8, 2012
ARC from publisher via Netgalley
Sometimes you wish a book was as good as its cover. While the cover for Suzanne Lazear's Innocent Darkness is dazzling, the book is less so.
Noli is a young mechanically-minded woman living in early 20th century Los Angeles. This is an alternative universe where steampunk is crossed with fairies. The fairy Otherworld needs to sacrifice a girl with Spark once every seven years to survive. The last sacrifice was botched and so the Queen's hunstman, Kevighn Silver, must find an extra-Sparky girl to repair the damage.
Noli doesn't realize that her best friend/next-door-neighbor/love interest V is an exiled fae prince who has been protecting her since she is an extra-Sparky girl. When Noli gets into trouble one too many times for her mechanical shenanigans, she gets sent to a school for wayward girls.
V isn't around to protect her when she meets Kevighn and makes an unwise wish on Midsummer's Eve. Noli ends up in the Otherworld and V faces the wrath of the Queen to try to save her.
This all sounds awesome, but certain things kept me from loving it. One was the repetition. A character would do or say something, then repeat it to another character. And repeat it again when another character came on the scene. Again and again and again. I truly hope that's fixed as the book goes from ARC to final copy.
Something that isn't as easy to fix is that the story is very predictable. There were several plot points that were supposed to be big reveals that fell flat. The plot also suffers from a lack of urgency. We're repeatedly told that this sacrifice is important and must be done soon to save the Otherworld, but there's no specific timeline given. Days, weeks, even months pass and as this first book in the series ends, there's no ticking clock to amp the tension. In fact, without a specific timeline, it deflates the tension.
I haven't read any steampunk, so I can't compare it to other steampunk novels. But in my uninitiated opinion, it seemed a lot less steampunk and more fairy. So reader beware if you pick up the cover expecting lots of steampunk action.
I wish I could give glowing reviews to all the books I read, but this one was not a good fit for me.